Las Pilitas Nursery

California Native Plants are all we grow!

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3232 Las Pilitas Rd
Santa Margarita, CA 93453
Fri. & Sat. from 9am-4pm
8331 Nelson Way
Escondido, CA 92026
Tues. to Sat. from 9am-4pm

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This website is dedicated to Bert Wilson. His genius continues to inspire us. Update: Bert's Memorial Open House will be May 24.

nursery container sizes from 2 inch pot(liner), 3,4, 5 through a gallon - grid24_24

Plant Size and Containers

The plants need to have enough room in the pots to have 10 or more lateral roots. The pots have to be big enough to keep the root system alive without killing the microorganisms around the roots. The smaller the pot, the better it will grow into the soil, but the harder it is to keep alive untill it does.

Plants in containers smaller than a quart are not very viable. We have experimented over the years and found the smallest container we can ship you a viable product in is about a gallon. We used 180-200 cc. Containers(8 oz.) proved to be stable for us, and I used these sizes in installations for years, but customers and employees that did not have a perfectly green thumb killed large numbers of the little plants. Sometimes this green thumb did not make much sense! I could plant a row of the small pots with one of our employees following and planting the second row only to have 75 out of 80 of his die and 1 out of 80 of mine die. Going to gallons made those numbers a lot better. Bareroot is not usually possible on most of our plants, as they are way too root sensitive.
Pot sizes. The little  one to the right  the soda is what is commonly shipped mailorder. We ship the one to the left of the soda can, 1 gallons. All we grow are native plants and we grow them in a harsh site in Central California.. They'll LOVE your garden. - grid24_12
6 inch, 5 inch, 1 gallon, 2 gallon, 5 gallon sizes plastic pots

Our climate is unforgiving, and 'problematic' these are real numbers from our experimentation for each container.

Peat pots, (50% died) and a lot of slime.

Solid styrene(which is nothing but non-aerated Styrofoam)(50% died).

Plastic tubes(75% died), what didn't die looked awful.

Tree cells, no roots in container middle, non-mycorrhizal and very poor looking plants,(50%)

Deep pots, same as tree cells.

Paper (100% died), nothing but a big slimy mess.

Styro packs, rot not root, very bad looking with a few living.

By lived or died, we mean from propagation through establishment in the ground with no fungicides or other pesticides. The problem is always the same, the pots just do not have enough aeration. We are now back to gallons, please recycle them. We use mostly recycled pots in the nursery, recycled through our customers. Pots bigger than gallons are not as good either, because the roots do not establish very well. Five gallon or bigger plants cannot be used on sites without regular water (revegetation sites). Their success rate is very poor unless watered.  (Patrick Audet and Christiane Charest had similar results.

Actual costs become apparent only if you are tracking costs.   Coastal customers can get away with more, as hot summers cause more problems. Designers or one time installers may never have a clue unless you call them over and over about the loses. Guarantee a planting for a year in the interior, you will notice the difference. This table is for comparison only. EVERY site is different, and costs will vary. 

I like to plant more than 4000 plants per acre.....but the budgets usually allow about 200.

For those of you buying mailorder the prices should be proportionally similar, all be it with inflation, much higher.
So why did you $10 for a 2 inch pot?

Pot size

Price/

Aprox. Year survival

Plants/day/person

Labor cost/plant

(actually higher if caged, or mulched)

Watering requirements

Water costs

Replacement costs/

1000

Weed costs from watering/1000

Total per 1000

in $

2 inch/supercell(1/3 of a soda can)

1.5

0.1

360

.56/

Daily two months

60x100

4950

1200

12995

4 inch

2.5

0.25

160

1.25

Every other day two months

30X100

4875

600

12225

d-pot

3.75

0.8

120

1.67

Every other day two months

30X100

1550

600

10600

gallon

4

0.9

120

1.67

Once/week two months

8X100

800

80

7350

5 gallon

12

0.8

30

6.67

Once/week six months

24X100

4000

120

25190

Mulch, irrigation systems, cages, etc. can double or triple costs.
Labor $10/hour averaged paid employee, plus taxes and workman's comp=$15/hour+overhead costs=$20/hour+travel and setup= $25/hour=$200/day (used to be $125!).
Water costs= 1/2day to check system each time it waters, figuring water is not billed.
Replacement costs=50 per day or $4 each+container, $8 for fives.
Weed costs from watering per 1000, more water=more weeds 1 day weeding per 10 waterings.
Total per 1000= labor cost= per plant*1000+water costs+replacement costs+weeding costs+plant cost*1000.